The higher carat a diamond is, the larger the diamond will be. But the visible size of a diamond and how it looks depends on more than just carat. This is because certain cuts and ring settings can change the appearance or hide part of the diamond.
A 1 carat round diamond (which is the most popular diamond shape) is 6.4 millimeters in diameter. Depending on the cut, a 1 carat diamond might range a few millimeters on either side of this.
Interestingly, a 1 carat diamond is much more expensive than a 0.9 carat diamond, despite being only slightly larger. In fact, they’re 10–20% more expensive. This is because one carat is a “magic size,” like two carats or three carats. Magic sizes come with bragging rights and other preconceptions that have resulted in them having a much higher price point.
A 1 carat diamond will set you back a few thousand dollars. Depending on the quality of the diamond, the diamond price could range from around $2,000 to almost $15,000. We’ll cover some of the other factors that will affect diamond prices below.
Is a 1 carat diamond perfect for an engagement ring?
How big should a diamond be in my engagement ring? This is a question that gets asked a lot. Well, the answer isn’t cut and dry, but we’ve got some tips for you.
Like everything, this is a matter of preference. So first and foremost, discuss with your partner what they consider an acceptable size and what you both think looks nice. A 1 carat diamond ring can be a gorgeous statement piece, but for some, it’s just too big or expensive.
The average size of a diamond engagement ring in the US is around 1 carat or slightly larger. So if that matters, then a 1 carat diamond engagement ring might be perfect for you.
The style of the ring also matters. Are you going for a minimalistic solitaire or a more intricate design with multiple gemstones? A 1 carat center stone with smaller diamonds surrounding it might push your budget through the roof.
Carat isn’t the only factor when it comes to the price or looks of a diamond. Simply buying the largest diamond available isn’t often the best choice. So what else should you look for?
Diamond grading is performed according to many factors, but the most important ones are the 4Cs. A certified diamond will have a grading report you can refer to (only buy certified diamonds!).
First, you have the diamond cut. A rare or fancy-shaped diamond will set you back more, like the princess cut. A round-cut diamond is the most common and usually affordable diamond shape. Depending on what cut you want, take this into account for your budget.
Second, there’s clarity. The clarity grade takes into account inclusions in the diamond crystal structure. Better diamond clarity means a clearer and more refractive diamond—so this matters! What matters most isn’t that it’s the highest clarity grade, but that it’s clear to the eye. So find a diamond clarity you’re happy with, and stick with it.
Finally, we have the diamond color. The color grade refers to how clear and colorless the diamond is. Because diamonds range in color from perfectly colorless to yellow/brownish, the color matters. Most people want the most colorless diamond possible as it suits white gold and is more attractive.
We recommend the following trick when you’re buying your engagement ring. Settle on a clarity grade and color that you and your partner are comfortable with, and get the largest carat weight diamond in your budget. This way, you won’t buy a larger diamond with terrible clarity or color just because it’s big.
Reading about diamond size online is one thing, but seeing it in reality is another. We recommend going to your local jeweler and seeing how you like the size of a 1 carat diamond. This goes for the other diamond qualities too. Make sure you like the look and feel of that diamond in person—then you can shop around online.